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Recap / Bob's Burgers S 12 E 3 "The Pumpkinening"

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When a mysterious note is sent to Linda on Halloween, she and Gayle must travel to their hometown to face a wrong they committed 27 years ago. Meanwhile, Bob's Burgers becomes a popular trick-or-treating site when Bob buys a popular brand of candy, but as kids swarm the restaurant the Belcher kids worry about getting some for themselves.


  • Absentee Actor: The first time in Season 12 that Teddy is absent.
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  • Bland-Name Product: Sour Sack Babies are a clear rip-off of Sour Patch Kids.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Gayle mentions going to a life coach named Dane Kang early on. It turns out Dane was the one who sent the letters.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: An interesting case in the B-plot. While Bob does save three packages of Sour Sack Babies for his children, he seems not to notice their clear distress as more and more trick-or-treaters enter the restaurant and deplete the supply. He only reveals he saved some for them after they think the candy is all gone (although, given the restaurant was getting mobbed, telling his kids he has extra bags of Sour Sack Babies in earshot of other kids might not have ended so well).
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  • Crazy Cat Lady: Gayle outright acknowledges her status as this.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Dane Kang does this at the end of the episode when it's pointed out that the person who sent the letters is still unknown. Because only Gayle has met him, this attempt at a dramatic reveal falls flat, with Linda asking who he is.
  • Flashback: Several to 27 years ago, including one that plays at the start of the episodenote .
  • Foreshadowing: The first person Linda and Gayle interrogate suspects Terry of smashing the pumpkins on the off-chance she thought she wasn't going to win the contest. While he's flat-out wrong about Terry (which the audience already knows), it hints that Linda smashed her own pumpkin for a similar reason (except because Linda thought she would win, not because she thought she wouldn't).
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  • From Bad to Worse: Linda originally only smashed one pumpkin (her own), and it was an accident (at least until the ending revealed Linda smashed it on purpose). Then the sisters' clumsiness causes them to smash two more (which were actual accidents this time), before they ultimately decide to smash all of them on purpose to avoid their crime being discovered.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • The new candy Bob buys makes him popular with trick-or-treaters, but so many kids come that he can barely manage them all.
      Bob: I am never handing out good candy again.
    • Linda wanted to destroy her pumpkin because she overheard she was going to win and didn't want to hurt Gayle's paper-thin feelings. She succeeds in her plan, but her and Gayle's clumsiness end up making sure no one wins.
  • Honor Before Reason: Narrowly subverted twice.
    • Bob once again purchased rather awful candy for Halloween and kept insisting it was good, even though the kids, Linda, and Mike the mailman thought they looked and smelled like cough drops and said it "tasted like old leaves." Bob even declared "that's what they were going for." But as soon as a kid tells another kid not to trick-or-treat at the restaurant, Bob decides he doesn't want to die on this hill and quickly goes out to buy better candy.
    • The kids decide to forego trick-or-treating just for a chance at some Sour Sack Babies (with Gene lampshading that they shouldn't, but that his mind will forever think of the Sour Sack Babies if they don't), and while it ultimately works out it seems like they've sacrificed all their potential candy for a small portion of candy that might not even be worth it. However, it's still somewhat light out by the end of the episode, and as seen multiple times throughout the series the kids usually don't trick-or-treat until it's completely dark out, meaning they only lost a couple hours of their trick-or-treat time rather than their entire trick-or-treat time.
  • Nice Guy: Dane Kang has an unorthodox way of helping people out, but he still has good intentions.
  • Noodle Incident: Gayle once let her cat drive, which predictably got Gayle's license suspended.
  • No Social Skills: Gayle is explicitly going to a life coach to learn how to talk to humans.
  • Pooping Where You Shouldn't: Linda once pooped in a convertible, which only Bob has heard of.
  • Refuge in Audacity: A kid dressed as The Grim Reaper keeps coming back for more Sour Sack Babies, making only the smallest attempts to even act like he's a new trick-or-treater (which Bob points out).
  • The Reveal:
    • Linda sabotaged her pumpkin on purpose because she was on track to win the carving contest and felt bad for Gayle.
    • Gayle's life coach Dane Kang sent the letters because he felt it'd help Gayle move on.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Bob anticipated that he'd run out of Sour Sack Babies, so he set aside a small bag for each of his kids.